Andretti applauds unified series
|By Steven English||Saturday, February 23rd 2008, 00:29 GMT|
Michael Andretti was one of several entrants from both Champ Car and the Indy Racing League to welcome tonight's confirmation of the unification of open-wheel racing in North America.
The IRL team co-owner and former Champ Car champion was relieved to see the two series merge after 12 years of separation.
"This is a huge day for the IRL and for our sport as a whole," he said. "Over the years as a driver, team owner, and promoter, I've always wanted a unified sport.
"That has been my only goal throughout this entire process and I applaud everyone who played a role in making this happen. So many people have worked tirelessly to get this done and everyone can now focus on taking the IRL to new heights."
Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and IRL team boss AJ Foyt echoed Andretti's sentiments.
"It will eliminate confusion for fans and sponsors because thereíll be just one type of car, one type of motor, and everyone will be running together," he said. "Iím glad they were able to get it done and may the best team win."
IRL racer Sarah Fisher is looking forward to drivers from both series going head to head.
"Iím extremely excited about it from an opportunity standpoint," she said. "This gives us the chance to compete against the very best in open-wheel racing."
Although officials from both series released a statement earlier today confirming the unification, IRL boss Tony George doesnít expect there to be an official press conference until early next week.
"We want to have as positive a press conference as possible when we do have one," he told American newspaper The Indianapolis Star. "We donít want to have questions without answers."
It is believed that, despite the merger being agreed, the exact details of issues such as the April 19-20 clash between the Champ Car race at Long Beach and the IRL round at Motegi, Japan are still to be decided.